Wednesday, October 7, 2009

#BookReview: Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali - Kris Holloway


Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I love reading about other cultures. Following a semester abroad in France, Peace Corps volunteer Kris Holloway returned to the states intent on taking a class on West African history and civilizations. Partly because of Mali's independence from France, Ms. Holloway requested an assignment there. The result of her two years in Mali working with Monique Dembele, a young midwife, is a beautiful memoir.

Life for women in Mali, especially those in rural areas, is not easy. Most women are married by the age of eighteen and have seven children. The risk of death during childbirth and pregnancy is among the top ten highest in the world. At the time this book was written in 2007, over 96 percent of women had had some form of genital cutting performed during their infancy or childhood.

It's admirable that Ms. Holloway chose to go to Mali, but even more admirable is Monique Dembele for being born into such a world and creating change when those around her wouldn't. I won't tell you that this book isn't a tearjerker, because I would be lying, but it's also an empowering story that should not be missed.
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